Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova burst onto live state television news this week in Russia, denouncing Russia’s war in Ukraine and the propaganda around it. Her protest has now led to a quiet, but steady, stream of resignations from journalists in Russia’s state-run television.
Russia’s news channels are tightly controlled by the government and are required to report the Kremlin lines.
After Ovsyannikova’s on-screen protest on Channel One News, three resignations were filed at news channels. Zhanna Agalakova quit her job at Channel One as the Europe correspondent, and two journalists, Lilia Gildeyeva and Vadim Glusker, left rival station NTV. Gildeyeva had been a news presenter on NTV since 2006, and Glusker had worked at the station for nearly three decades.
There are also rumors circulating that journalists are filing their resignation letters at All-Russia state TV group VGTRK. At Vesti news stable, journalists have reportedly been quitting en masse.
At RT, formerly known as Russia Today, former editor Maria Baronova is the highest-profile resignation. She told BBC this month that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already destroyed Russia’s reputation, and that the economy had been killed as well.
She is not alone in leaving RT, which has seen multiple journalists resign, including non-Russian journalists working for its language services. A London correspondent, a Moscow journalist, and a French presenter all left RT at the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
People on talk shows and other television shows have also quit or taken breaks. Ivan Urgant, one of Russia’s biggest talk show hosts, has taken a break from his prime-time Evening Urgant show, which airs on the second biggest channel in the country, Channel One. He posted a black square on his Instagram saying “Fear and pain. No war.”
Celebrity couple Alla Pugacheva and Maxim Galkin also have taken breaks from their show business, with Galkin posting on Instagram “there can be no justification for war. No war!”